Sri Lanka political parties in joint call for media safeguards

Aug 04, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s major opposition political parties have backed calls for an end to government intimidation of the media and demanded it ensure the safety of journalists. Eleven political parties have signed a joint statement defending media freedom in Sri Lanka and requesting the authorities to safeguard media freedom and guarantee the safety and security of journalists.

The call came in response to increasing attacks on and intimidation of journalists critical of the government and the military.

“Media freedom is an essential feature of a vibrant democracy,” the statement by the political parties said.

“An independent and professional media able to function without interference or influence from government and other partisan influences and exists for the social, political, cultural and economic betterment of polity and society is an integral part of democratic governance.”

However, it said, independent media and journalists in Sri Lanka today are terrorized through a spate of killings, abductions, assaults, arbitrary arrests and detentions.

“They are subject to violence, both physical and verbal, to a degree that is unprecedented.”

The pol